Networking plays a significant role in our daily lives. With video calls, social networks, and new technology, it’s become easier for people to network with one another. Events like conferences or group meetings are an excellent way to meet people who share similar interests, whether from working in the same industry or sharing a particular hobby. Regardless of context, you’re probably meeting people with whom you wish to remain in contact with in hopes of working together or reconnecting within the future.
But while meeting new people is straightforward (with time, most people tend to build a sizable list of contacts), it can be challenging to remain in contact with them once an event has passed. Depending on how busy your life is, you could easily forget about them until you see them again at the next meet-up. That can lead to some awkward conversations, especially if it’s been a while since your last meeting.
In this article, we’ll provide you with a few tips on the best ways to keep in touch with contacts after an event or meeting.
Organize your contacts
Remaining organized can help you keep track of all of the newly acquired contacts you gained during a networking event. Segmenting those contacts can help you know which ones are in the same industry, potential clients, or just good to know. That way, you’ll have some idea of who you should reach out to first before a budding relationship starts to cool down.
For example, if they are potential clients for your business, getting in touch with them sooner rather than later might take a higher priority.
Taking the time to organize your contact list will ensure that you know wherever everyone is and what order to contact them. Plus, you won’t have to scramble through a pile of business cards looking for a specific individual. After you take the time to organize your contacts, it’ll become much easier to search through your mass of business cards and find the people you wish to reach out to first.
Reach out to them immediately after the first meeting
If you have met an individual at a networking event whom you’d like to remain in contact with, make a point to follow up immediately after the event. To pull this off, write down a note on the back of their business card with the date you met and what you two discussed.
The next day, send them an email or private message through social media about your conversation and ask to meet for lunch or coffee.
If possible, consider forwarding something with some value, such as sending an article that relates to the conversation you had. Alternatively, come with a definitive ask. Make sure you are only reaching out to the people you wish to establish a genuine connection with on a deeper level.
Find a Conversation Starter
If you are considering staying in touch with someone, make sure to look at the calendar frequently for any particular special dates. Birthdays and holidays are some of the easier ones to remember when you wish to reach out to someone by simply greeting them.
Another option you have is to build upon your relationship with them and bring up previous topics or events your contact may have mentioned in the past. Take note about the company they work under or their career of choice, and break the ice by when you see an article they are featured in or sending them an article that you think they would find interesting.
Keeping track of everything during networking can be a bit of a hassle for most people. Even the sharpest minds struggle to remember every conversation they had with someone, especially if they live busy lives.
To make things easier on yourself and ensure that you have ways to prompt the interest of your contacts, jot down notes of your recent conversations. A technique like this will help show your contact that you’re paying attention and that you value the things they say.
Some of the best networkers out there take a few minutes to write down points of interest about any of their new contacts and use them during their following conversation. If you're using a personal CRM like Dex, you can easily save these notes directly next to the contact and access them during your following conversation.
Make sure you are writing down these vital notes immediately after the event. If you don’t have a paper on hand, write down the records directly on the back of the business card you collected from them. You must do this during that evening or the next morning while the conversation is still fresh in your head.
What you write down depends on you, but some possible things you write could include personal details you learned about them, such as their hobbies, favorite foods, likes or dislikes, and anything else you deem relevant. This information can become a critical part of ensuring your relationship starts on a positive note.
Track Your Interactions
When you wish to get better at keeping in touch with your contacts, the database you establish will be your best bet. Having the capability to track your interactions will help you keep track of the last time you contacted them.
Personal CRMs serve as excellent tools that can assist you in saving the contact's information and receiving reminders about checking in with them. It also ensures you won’t have to worry about needing to necessarily check in on your notes to see when was the last time you contacted them. Documents and spreadsheets can also serve as an alternative, but require more manual work and are not as effective.
Send memorable emails
Emails still serve as an excellent form of communication in today’s world. There’s a good chance that the business card you received from the individual has their email address available for you to reach out to them. Use that opportunity to send a memorable follow-up email.
During the first email, you’ll want to show them that you thoughtfully listened during your conversation together. Just like the positive impression you made on them during the event itself, you need to make a good impression in your email. That means you need to ensure that there are no spelling errors or typos, awkward jokes, or long-running sentences.
While it's alright for the email to have a casual tone behind it, that doesn't mean that you should write your email as you would to a close friend. You don’t want them to think you're not someone they can’t take seriously in a conversation. That means don’t use slang or internet jargon when writing your email. Make it professional while remaining casual.
Once you’ve followed up, you’ll want to ensure that your new connection continues to grow over time. Of course, depending on the person you are trying to establish a relationship with, the amount of time you connect with them will vary. Typically, you want to at least reach out to them every two to three months at a minimum if you want to establish a genuine connection.
If they are a client, it’s best to shorten that amount of time to a weekly basis instead of a monthly one. Business partners and other individuals like mentors or former bosses may be more suited for the few-month variation. Even so, it will all depend on the people with whom you are trying to remain in contact. All of the people on your growing contact list will vary when it comes to these sorts of things.
A personal CRM can also help ensure you remain aware of the best times to get in touch with them once again. Setting up reminders that prompt you to take action during specific holidays or whenever too much time has passed since your previous conversation with them.
Social media has become incredibly valuable over the past decade. Since its inception, it has allowed people from all walks of life to keep in touch with each other. Whether it be with friends, family members, or people they met at events. It also services as an excellent source of information for any updates into people's lives or upcoming events.
For those looking to grow their network, social media is a powerful tool they need to use to ensure their overall success. Aside from their email and phone number, most people these days are also putting in their social media handles. For new contacts, check your social media feed every once in a while and reply/interact with new contacts’ posts.
Schedule a Catch-up meeting
Networking events and conferences shouldn’t serve as the only opportunity for networking with your contacts face-to-face. Take the time to see if they are interested in meeting up with you for lunch or a cup of coffee. If they don’t live in the same area, see if they are planning to go to any similar events you plan to head to in the future.
Not only will it serve as a great way to reconnect with each other, but you can also enjoy the event together. Attending an event with one of your contacts will help build the relationship to a whole new level.
The experiences you both share can be far more impactful than just sharing some coffee or lunch. It also helps both of you connect better with other people that are attending the event as well. For example, if you meet someone else that is a part of your network, you can always introduce them to your companion, allowing you to further enhance your relationship with both of them.
Offer to help
When you are attempting to keep in touch with your contacts, the best thing to do is offer them help before asking them for any favors. If you can help your contact in some way, do so.
For example, maybe they are selling a particular product to a specific industry but aren’t sure of the right people to get in contact with. Offer to connect them with someone in that industry if you have them as part of your growing network. That help will eventually pay its dividends in the coming future.
There will be times when you are not entirely sure what to write when you want to reach out to a new contact you have not spoken to in a while. For that reason, you should consider creating some templates that you can send out to them to prompt a response from them. The templates you design shouldn’t come off as generic and instead fit your particular tone and style of writing.
The templates you create should also fit the type of communication you are using. After all, there is a difference between communicating through a text message and email. Email clients like Superhuman allow you to reuse templates quick and easily.
If you are not attempting to keep in touch with your recent contacts after an event, you are losing out on some excellent networking opportunities.
To make the most of newly acquired contacts, invest the time to follow-up and get to know your contacts. And in order to most effectively do so, you’ll need to make it a habit to reach out to these people a few days after the event. This can all be a lot to remember without any help. If networking is important to you, you may want to consider a personal CRM that helps you keep everything in place. Check out Dex today.